Christmas is coming! Check out Dell's outlet store:
They have returned and refurbished computers for cheap. And during sales it gets crazy like the laptop I'm posting on now which cost 1,600 new and I got it for just over 400.
SSD would be nice but the big thing is you're going to have tons and tons of data that will need to be pushed around so that drive will be key. I'd get some USB 3.0 HD's to go along with whatever you buy since they will be much faster than your current one AND you can get very large drive and then use them for backup after. The price for storage is falling and falling